5 new books to start the new year with
BANGLADESH: A LITERARY JOURNEY THROUGH 50 SHORT STORIES
Ed. Rifat Munim
Lush greeneries and a crimson sun depict riverine Bangladesh on the cover of this short story collection curated by Bangladeshi writer and editor Rifat Munim, who has been the Literary Editor at The Daily Star and Dhaka Tribune in addition to serving as a jury member for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2019.
Through the stories in this book, "the reader witnesses the rise of a language-based nationalism and the subsequent birth of Bangladesh in 1971, and also how the country fell back into the clutches of military dictatorship till democracy was restored in 1990", the editor shared on his social media.
UNSAID: AN ASIAN ANTHOLOGY
Ed. Anitha Devi Pillai
Penguin South East Asia
In her fiction and nonfiction, writer and editor Anitha Devi Pillai has focused on identity, heritage and culture, gaining acclaim for her work on the Singapore Malayalee community. The 15 stories of her latest anthology are all set in Asia—stories about families, the human psyche, pain, pain, power, and the mystical dark side, written by Razia Sultana Khan (Bangladesh), Saras Manickam (Malaysia), Cherrie Sing (Philippines), and 13 other writers and academics from across the continent.
"The Banyan Tree", the short story by Bangladeshi writer and academic Professor Razia Sultana Khan, starts on a light note with a group of students in a field trip, but evolves into a supernatural tale with a blend of magic realism and folklore. Someone has to pay the price when traditions, community beliefs, and environmental issues are unheeded.
Writer and columnist Nilanjana Roy writes passionately of free speech and women's rights in India. Having written for The New York Times, BBC, Granta, Al Jazeera and other platforms, in her latest novel Roy gives us a literary thriller. An 8-year-old girl is found swinging from a tree in a village outside Delhi. Sub-Inspector Ombir Singh has only one officer and one revolver to stop the angry villagers, nearly all of them Hindu, from attacking Mansoor, a Muslim man found near the body. Roy's story seeks to unpack the growing religious intolerance in India.
THE MYTH BRIDGE
HerStory Foundation, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh
"What would Bibi Ma do in a bathhouse? What is Rapunzel's love language? Roll a D20."
The Myth Bridge compiles in book form the stories created by a fore-day role-playing game organised by HerStory Foundation and Goethe-Institut Bangladesh. The characters include eight heroines of Bengali and German folklore—each created and played by Bangladeshi and German writers, illustrators, editors and translators.
RUN AND HIDE
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
London-based Pankaj Mishra—fellow at the Royal Society of Literature and writer for The Guardian, the London Review of Books, and The New Yorker—returns with a novel after X years. Run and Hide tells a "powerful story of achieving material progress at great moral and emotional cost." Its characters belong to the predominantly male campus of IIT, sail and struggle through the world of finance; its protagonist Arun, meanwhile, decides to work on his writing in a quiet Himalayan village with his mother.